It was a lament shared Friday morning by a couple of former Patriots linebackers now working with the media.
But the sentiment was probably relatable for anyone who roots for the Patriots and already was weary of the Antonio Brown drama less than two weeks into what, thankfully, was an abbreviated tenure with the franchise.
“I would like to just wake one of these days and get back to talking about #Patriots football,’’ tweeted NESN’s Matt Chatham. “Seems like a reasonable request.”
Replied Tedy Bruschi, now of ESPN: “Me and you both bro.”
Perhaps they can now. The Patriots cut Brown Friday after 11 days, 4 receptions, and at least 3 grotesque allegations about his behavior.
It was the right thing to do, and it makes up for the misguided decision to bring him here.
This one-man circus, who ended up with and royally blew the professional jackpot of joining the Patriots after, among other transgressions, threatening to punch his general manager in Oakland, grew tiresome by the day, all the way to Friday’s abrupt and welcome end.
That preceded by a few seconds reports by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Field Yates that Brown indeed had been released.
The phrase “good riddance” was created for times like these. It was something new with Brown every few days it seems, another story painting the All-Pro receiver as equal parts idiotic and sinister, and the Patriots were wise, if a little late, in deciding not to deal with it anymore.
On Sept. 10, Brown was accused of sexual assault and rape by Britney Taylor, a gymnast he met while they were students at Central Michigan University. He later hired her as his trainer. She filed a civil suit against him.
Another woman accused Brown of sexual misconduct in a story published by Sports Illustrated Monday. And in a follow-up story Thursday night, that woman said Brown has been sending her intimidating text messages since the allegations surfaced.
Brown’s legal team has denied the allegations, all of which surfaced since he joined the Patriots. But he was a dubious addition even before these reports of awful, and perhaps criminal, behavior.
With equal parts cynicism and appropriate skepticism, it makes one wonder what else they might know, and what we eventually will find out.
Not even Bill Belichick, the master of shielding his team from the dreaded distractions, could get away from the Brown drama, though it didn’t stop him from trying. During Friday’s news conference, he said he wouldn’t take any questions on Brown. He was asked five straight questions about the receiver. The news conference ended after 3½ minutes with the coach walking away from the podium.
Belichick on Antonio Brown: “I know there are questions about Antonio. We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into. I'm not going to comment on any of the off the field situations." pic.twitter.com/jTPawXJQb7— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 20, 2019
Brown is an electrifying football player, one who could have been an enormous asset. Sadly, if hardly surprisingly, that was enough for a fairly vocal segment of aggrieved Patriots fans to take to social media and get tangled up in their own sycophancy barely two weeks after they surely were snickering about the mess he was making in Oakland.
Twitter is addictive because it’s wonderful sometimes — when you’re sharing a satisfying moment with fellow fans, or a running joke, or someone such as Bruschi or Chatham joins in a conversation.
On Thursday, I had a back and forth with former NBA star Marques Johnson about the inspiration for his character Raymond, who attempts to rob a convenience store in a hilariously poor disguise in “White Men Can’t Jump.” Cool interactions such as that didn’t happen before social media.
But too often, the good stuff is fleeting. This Brown situation became a cesspool of rationalizations while he was here. A popular one Friday, before Brown was sent packing, went after the author of the two most recent news-breaking Brown stories, theMMQB.com’s Robert Klemko, a reporter who has some baggage himself.
In October 2014, Klemko was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery and criminal trespass after reportedly fighting with a cab driver and commandeering the vehicle. Klemko was suspended for four weeks by theMMQB.com.
That four-week suspension seemed lenient at the time. What he did was shameful. But it hardly disqualifies Klemko, five years later, from reporting on Brown.
Then there were the generalizations being thrown around, a blame-the-media game that was transparent and tiresome. You think the media loved this story? Depends which segment of the media you’re talking about. It’s a delicious sports radio topic, an easy four hours for the Felgers and Ordways of the world.
But for the reporters who just want to cover an extraordinary football team with insight and thoroughness — and that is the vast majority of those on the beat — it’s a nuisance.
As NESN’s Doug Kyed put it on Twitter, “Maybe some people do [like the drama]. I can tell you the core beat writers who are here every day don’t. We all walked in today miserable over this story continuing.”
Brown is an ex-Patriot now. Chatham and Bruschi and anyone else who wants to — which should be the vast majority of New England sports fans and every reporter who just wants to cover football — can now get back to focusing on what remains an excellent Patriots team.
But there’s also a lesson worth remembering. The next time a great player with enough baggage to fill his own airport carousel joins the Patriots, maybe hold off on blaming the media for reporting his transgressions. Instead, make him earn his cheers.